What can we expect while Deshaun Watson takes over? Terry Token Browns

CLEVELAND, OH – The thing to remember is that the Browns ranked 11th in scoring and were in the top five in several other categories on offense with Jacoby Brissett as QB for the first 11 games.

In their seven losses, they have given up 30 or more points five times. Keep in mind that no team in the NFL has averaged 30 points this season. Brissett did his job and did his job well.

However, Watson should improve the attack over time. I asked some footballers what the Browns’ offense could look like as they transition from Brissett to Watson. I heard the following:

1. More RPOs: This means “play/scroll option”. It is where the QB places the ball in the running back’s hand. He can pull the ball back and throw a pass. Or the QB can keep and run it. Brisket wasn’t very mobile. Watson’s mobility makes this a real possibility, and a key part of the offense—especially when he works with running back Nick Chubb on these plays.

“He (Brown) wants to get the ball into the hands of our playmakers,” said offensive coordinator Alex van Pelt. “Deshaun being one of those now…it opens up more options for us and hopefully makes us tougher to defend.”

2. More Subtractions: This is especially true near the goal line. Brissett was not a particularly good pitcher. This can help with the red zone.

“Everyone saw his ability to make all the throws,” said coach Kevin Stefanski. “He’s very athletic. He can play with his feet. He can really hurt you out of pocket, too.”

3. Take more bags: In Houston, the offensive line blamed Watson’s excessive sacks. This is not entirely fair. Holds the ball for a long time. His three full seasons were 2018-2020. During those three years, he led the NFL in sacked – an average of 52 per season.

“He scrambles a little bit and can throw the ball up the field,” said Browns guard Joel Petonio. “As a lineman, you have to kind of block forever. You don’t know where it’s going to be sometimes, but that’s part of the game. You have to block forever for everyone else out there.”

4. He will throw deeper passes: His downside to scrambling and catching the ball is sacks. The upside is that it gives receivers more time to open up—and Watson will nail it.

“He’s got the arm strength to stretch the field for sure,” said Van Pelt. “Are we going to call more deep balls? I’m not sure. Will more deep balls be thrown? Maybe. He definitely has the ability and precision to throw it up the court.”

5. It’s accurate: Watson has the highest completion percentage (67.8) of any NFL QB in history who has thrown at least 1,500 career passes. He has 104 TD passes compared to 36 interceptions in 53 games.

“He throws a great ball,” said receiver Amari Cooper. “Easy to catch. It is real accurate. This is just one of the traits of a good midfielder. Accurately placing it on the coins in your chest.”

Ted Crow’s drawing of Crowquill. For the Browns to make the playoffs, Deshaun Watson has his work cut out for him when he returns from suspension.

Let’s be real

It’s possible that Watson will look gruff at times and his death will be a little out of the way. He is the product of not playing a regular season game in 23 months.

“I suppose there will be rust,” said Van Pelt. “It’s common for anyone who hasn’t played in a long time no matter what position… It’s football, which he’s had his whole life, so I hope he (Rust) repels it quickly.”

I disagree with Van Pelt on one point: QB is unlike any other position in football. The requirements are enormous. Split-second decision making. It’s not like hitting the guy in front of you or running into broad daylight after taking the hand.

That is why I preach patience to Watson. He also has to take the internal pressure to try to make big plays (and possibly risk injury) because he’s been out for so long. The team needs to emphasize this to Watson.

Not everyone likes my opinions

This came from Bob (not his real name), who had strong opinions about my column saying I planned to give Watson a fresh start and cover him as a “football player”. He ignored the fact that I had been very critical of the Browns for months about trades, etc., and that I had written “Assuming he continues to do well off the field…”

If Watson misses, I’ll go after Brown and Watson – in that order.

Anyway, here we go:

“Would you just focus on football stories about Watson going forward? That makes you a blatant hypocritical coward and a disgrace to your profession.

“How can you give a man a new beginning when he does not believe, as far as we know, that he has done anything wrong that requires a new beginning? You are not giving him a new beginning, you are giving yourself permission to hold him accountable for his past actions in the future.”

“I don’t have to remind you that the NFL Disciplinary Committee found during the investigation and hearing that Watson committed four acts of sexual assault. … The last time he spoke on the subject he made it crystal clear by maintaining his belief that ‘he did nothing wrong” to use his words.

Why should Browns fans give him a fresh start if he’s so incapable of understanding his actions that harm the team, the city, and society in general? Why give the Haslam a pass to allow that by focusing solely on football?

“If you don’t condemn and continue to hound his utter lack of remorse that is an endorsement of his behaviour. Do you really not see it at this point? I think you do, which makes your article even more disgusting… Deplorable behavior that makes you a big bastard like him.”

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